From the few times I’ve watched Norton on TV, I bought Norton’s Holding expecting not much more than a light-hearted, entertaining read. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a story set in an Irish village, but the quaint setting hides personal tragedy. When a buried body is discovered, work begins to unravel a mystery: who is it and how did he die? Yes, it has Norton’s humor, but also a lot of warmth: it’s more about people and their complex lives and motivations than it is a whodunnit.
Holding has plenty of charm, but more depth and strong characterization than you might expect. The protagonist, local policeman PJ Collins, is a well-rounded (no pun intended), sympathetic character. The plot holds its own and the secondary characters are distinct and interesting. There are a few clichés but they don’t jar. More often than not, when you’re expecting a situation to evolve in a clichéd way, you are actually surprised, as I was by how Brid Riordan’s story unfolded.
I listened to the Audible version, read by the author. He was the perfect narrator. He really brings the story to life and you get quite caught up in the village, the characters and the mystery. I found myself impatient to get back to listening to it.
All in all, this is as solid and well-written a novel as one could expect from a more experienced novelist. As a first novel, bravo Graham Norton. I hope you keep on writing fiction.
Find it on Amazon and at other bookstores.
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